When you apply to a job with a larger company today, you will inadvertently have to use their applicant tracking system (ATS) to create your own “web page” on their internal servers. The company will use their own search terms to find you and if your information matches, you may get called for an interview. (I have written many articles on ATS’s.) By far, the number one complaint I hear from job seekers is that they NEVER hear back from the employer after they apply.
YouTube can help you understand.
YouTube has millions of videos. If you create a video and add it to YouTube and don’t use the right keywords and tags, no matter how good that video is, no one will ever find it. On the same hand, if you search YouTube for the search term “how to answer what is your greatest weakness interview question”, you will get over 26,000 results. Talk about competition for actual eyeballs! This is EXACTLY what is happening with your resume in an employer applicant tracking system.
If the employer uses the keywords “claims adjuster, large loss, property”, the results may return 1,000 resumes organized by the algorithms pre-determined by the ATS vendor and employer. The results may be by date, keyword relevancy, and an exact match or in most cases a long tail keyword string. We used a long tail keyword string when in our YouTube example.
How do you search and find the videos you want to watch in YouTube? Why do you click on one rather than another? How do you narrow your list of choices? When you submit your career information to an employer’s ATS, they are going through the exact same thought process for the position they are looking to fill! (Many ATS’s do this search automatically; no human needed.)
To get an employer to not only find your resume in their ATS but actually click on it, make sure you do these steps:
- Make sure the objective of your resume is the title of the position you are applying for at that company. For example, if they are looking for a homeowner’s claims adjuster, that should be your resume title/objective directly underneath your name, address, phone and email.
- Read through the job description to determine what long tail search string an employer would use to find your resume. For a homeowner’s claims adjuster, the search sting may be “claims, homeowners, xactware, xactimate, Simsol, PDR Estimate”. The keywords you may not recognize unless you adjust homeowners claims are software used to produce estimates. They are four different systems but if one of them are not on your resume, you will not be found on the first page. If all four software’s are on your resume, you will probably be the number one result. That is why it is very important to understand what software the company is actually using; especially if it is not in the job description (just call them). If you find they use Simsol but you use xactimate, you have to find out the similarities in the program and make sure that BOTH keyword make your resume. If you just use EXCEL but the job calls for someone who uses Google docs spreadsheet, you have to get both programs named on your resume.
- Identify all long tail keywords a company may use to search for you and add them in throughout your resume. You really have to think like the employer who wants to find great talent in their ATS.
You are just not a keyword anymore, you’re a long string of keywords. Make a list of twenty keywords that describe your career (leave out hardworking, team player, etc.). Take those keywords and create some long tail search strings that an employer may use when searching their ATS. Just like that YouTube video that you just uploaded, it’s all about driving eyeballs.
One final thought. Searching YouTube for a certain type of video yields hundreds of results. Not all those great results can make the first or second page. The videos that score high have every word of your long tail search string somewhere in the video description. This is how it works with your resume so really put some time into getting your skill keywords into long tail search strings. It will separate you from the crowd.